NFC powered lights
  • AlexSmithAlexSmith January 2016
    A while I ago discovered these NFC powered lights. Basically you put them near your phone etc and they light up. Given how small they are, and how they are powered wirelessly from a normal phone, I thought they would be ideal for implanting. 

    There is one problem with them though, since the range is tiny, if you put your phone over them to power them, you will not be able to see them. and you can't put the phone behind the light to power it because your arm etc is too thick, they won't get enough power. To fix this I removed the LED and attached it to a ~1.5 inch wire, so that it could be seen even when a phone is covering the reader.

    I have made 3 of these devices, but not yet coated them, the plan is to coat them in implant grade silicone

    What do people think of them? does anyone want one of the prototypes to try it out?


    PS: I was already building this before the other RFID light thread, but it is pretty similar to what was suggested there.
  • aviinaviin January 2016
    Think this is what you hinted at to me awhile back in a private message.  I am very much interested in trying one out.
  • ChrisBotChrisBot January 2016
    Have you tried powering more than one led off these things? It would be cool to integrate these into a tattoo or something
  • AlexSmithAlexSmith January 2016
    @aviin In fact, this is something totally different from what I mentioned before, that project has finished the development and testing phase and is currently beginning production. You will see a major launch in a couple of months.

    @ChrisBot yes, you can run more than one light on a single coil, but the current is divided between the LEDs, so the light from each light is dimmer. Also, depending on where on the phone's antenna you place the coil, more/less power is transferred. If people want it, I could make a later version with more LEDs, but this is just a prototype, I don't want to make it more complicated until we see how well the single LED version works.
  • ChilliEyeChilliEye January 2016
    If they're cheap enough and can be self implanted, if I get a magnet from you then I might get one.

    Looking at that length of wire, this wont go in a glass tube will it?
  • aviinaviin January 2016
    I don't think I'd trust having a length of glass that long many places in my body even if it could be put in a glass tube.  Glass tubes that size could be sourced, though.  I've seen many 3mm glass-enclosed RFIDs, for example.  @AlexSmith, any idea of the diameter of the bulb?

    I've got a few ideas on how to implant such a thing.  One long incision with a larger pocket at one end for the antenna (this is assuming that the entire device isn't in a single-width silicone block) is one way.

    Depending on the width of the bulb and wire-enclosed bulb segment, something like a 6g piercing needle could be used, too.  You'd make an initial incision and pocket for the antenna, then run the needle from inside the pocket for a length at least the 1.5 inches, then let the needle tip break back through the skin and pull it through the channel leaving just the inch and a half section still in the skin.  Then you'd feed the bulb and wire into the needle and seat the antenna into place.  Now you'd pull the needle the rest of the way through, leaving the bulb and wire behind.  Close with a few sutures at the antenna pocket (and maybe one where the needle left the body).  This way would leave less area to risk invasion by nasties from the outside while it healed, but would involve, perhaps, a tiny bit more internal damage than a single long incision.  I've got some 6g 75mm piercing needles here that would do the job (that's assuming that the bulb/needle segment is less than 3.7mm in diameter, though).  There's also the possible risk of damaging the silicone while feeding the bulb into the needle.  Hmmm...
  • gbitgbit January 2016
    Very cool concept, I would definitely like to get my hands on one (or a few) to play with
  • MeanderpaulMeanderpaul January 2016
    Is it able to be switched to an RFID for longer range?
  • AlexSmithAlexSmith January 2016
    @aviin the size of the LED on the end of the wire is 0.8x0.7x1mm, that will increase once coating is applied, but it should still be less than 2x2x2mm.
    The antenna is 11x7x0.5mm

    In terms of how it could be implanted, personally I think you could make an incision ~1cm long, then make a ~2cm deep pocket. Then use a blunt 14 gauge rode/needle to open a tunnel under the skin, and then push the 2^3mm LED down to the end of the tunnel.
    At least, that's how I'd do it, but what you suggested would work too.

    ps: you would want to make sure you have the LED facing upwards, so make sure you have a NFC device handy to test the light before putting in the stitches.

    @Meanderpaul  possibly/probably, the reason I went with NFC is because 1: these compact antennas with built in resisters already exist 2: they work with phones, which LF RFID wouldn't.

    @ChilliEye although it would be possible to use a glass tube to encase the LED and wire, I think having a tube that long under the skin would be uncomfortable and likely to break. These will be coated in flexible silicone.

    Also, I guess I didn't make it clear, but I'm not charging anything for these, they are just a test/prototype, I just thought it's a cool idea, and if people want to try it out, I'll give away a few and see how well they work. DIY silicone coating is great to make fast/cheap-esh prototypes, but I'd want to have them professionally coated if I were going to charge money for them.

  • ChilliEyeChilliEye January 2016
    That's what I meant, that it is impractical, it does sound like I don't think it would fit in a glass tube though.

    Is that kind of silicone safe long term?

    I'd try one if it wouldn't need to be removed.
  • AlexSmithAlexSmith January 2016
    @ChilliEye the silicone I'm using, this stuff, is certified as safe for long term implantation, yes, however I'm not an expert on coating processes, so in the interests of safety I recommend not leaving it in long term.
  • ThomasEgiThomasEgi January 2016
    There are tiny tiny smd inductors, like 2mm cubes. Once i soldered 4 of them into a line and powered a LED from my external HDD's 125kHz RFID reader. A bigger antenna helps with power and usable range but for a tiny LED and the rather high NFC frequency you may get away with smaller antenna coils.
  • ChilliEyeChilliEye January 2016
    Sounds all right to me.
  • AlexSmithAlexSmith January 2016
    @ThomasEgi hmmm that's pretty cool, I know of the smd inductors, but I hadn't thought of using them as an RFID antenna, that's pretty cool.
  • AlexSmithAlexSmith January 2016
    I had a go at casting the antenna in silicone. In some ways it worked well, but as you can see the edges are very rough where I trimmed away excess silicone, for the real ones I will need to make a mold to ensure smooth edges.
  • RinRin February 2016
    Hey Alex,

    funny, I ordered some of these on aliexpress a week ago because I had the same idea :). If you use something other than your phone as a reader, can you get a better range? (My knowledge about RFID is … very limited.)

    Since these are nail stickers, I guess they are not available with bigger coils, which would be another solution to the range problem.

    About the coating, I was going to ask Samppa, but I don't know how much more professional it would be if it's only for 3-5 prototypes. So maybe your coating is good enough for now :).

  • DirectorXDirectorX February 2016
  • AlexSmithAlexSmith March 2016
  • BirdMachineBirdMachine March 2016
    now THAT is a beautiful post to wake up to on a Friday Morning.
  • McSTUFFMcSTUFF March 2016
    Awesome. I ordered some of these doodads when I saw them here. I have no intention of implanting mine but knowing how bright they really are and Alex's picture is pretty exciting.
  • ZerbulaZerbula March 2016
    I like this. :3 

    Very nice work 
  • AlexSmithAlexSmith March 2016
    I cut away excess silicone to make it smaller, and am now soaking it in saline for a couple of days, hopefully if there are any holes in the silicone it will start to rust and become noticeable. 

    The light in this pic is much fainter because the signal has to go through the thick glass.
  • MTSMTS March 2016
    This is complete awesomeness
  • MTSMTS March 2016
    Completely dreaming here, but it'd be cool to use something similar to this for bioluminescent communication in the future. Somewhere in the facial region. Sort of like an advanced "blushing".
  • ZerbulaZerbula March 2016
    ^ I want this. So much.
  • AlexSmithAlexSmith March 2016
    ok, so it's been soaking for a couple of days. it seems fine, no rusting of the components, and no noticeable degradation of the silicone. This is as expected since I'm using certificated implant silicone, but always best to test just in case.

    @aviin you were the first one to volunteer to test it. Do you still want to? 
    I'm not guaranteeing it's safe, but I don't think it's too risky either. The silicone is safe for long term implantation, and it's pretty unlikely to rupture since it's very flexible. and even if it it did break, the components are not particularly toxic. The only real concern I have with it is that silicone is not very smooth, so there is a risk of fouling. 
    either way, I'll understand if you don't want to test it.   
  • JohnDoeJohnDoe March 2016
    If this works out could this be used for wiring two implements together? Mainly the wiring not shredding the silicon.
  • AlexSmithAlexSmith March 2016
    @JohnDoe no
  • ChrisBotChrisBot March 2016
    @JohnDoe, I think that there was a thread from a while back that talked about subdermal wiring. Mainly the connectors that could be used to attach two different modules in-situ, were discussed if I can recall correctly. 
    I believe that the general consensus was that some sort of subdermal wiring would be helpful in the future.

     That in order to make things play nice with all of your squishy bits that the wires would be sitting in a sort of zigzag pattern, and be coated individually in a layer of silicon. That way they would be free to move around a bit, and wouldn't shred anything, or mess with anything they shouldn't be.

    If I remember, I will put the link to the discussion. I probably won't, but another member may be able to oblige.
  • JohnDoeJohnDoe March 2016
    Yea that's why I asked, I also believe that the issue with the zig zag was tissue damage from stretching back and forth. The end result was that it would need to be a gel/fluid with a silicon insulatior. I was just making sure this didn't suggest we over thought it. Ehh never hurts to ask....
  • ightdenightden March 2016
    how long is it?  it looks like itd be a few inch long incision to implant, right?
  • AlexSmithAlexSmith March 2016
    it's 2.4 inches long. personally I'd try to implant it by making a small cut at one end and a long pocket under the skin.
  • aviinaviin March 2016
    Sorry about my late reply.

    Yes, I would be honored to implant it.  I think you already have my shipping address in your webshop's records, but if you need it again, I would be happy to send it.

    As to implant technique, I currently agree with your proposed method.  A single small cut and a long pocket.  I will use a scalpel for the initial cut and primary pocket and 3" 6g piercing needle to make the long pocket.  I'm thinking I will attempt it on the ventral side of my right forearm approximately midway between the wrist and elbow.  The initial incision will be made nearer the elbow with the long pocket made in the direction of the wrist.  I'm more comfortable with that area than I would have been in the past.  That area has tissue that, at least on me, has an almost translucent quality that should help make the light more visible.

    I hate to say it, but I might have to break down and finally use lidocaine for this one.
  • AlexSmithAlexSmith March 2016
    Cool, you'll need to send me your address again, although I will have it in my site database, I don't have a way of matching forum handles to orders on the site.

    Yeah, no shame at all in using lidocaine, the implant procedure for this will probably take longer and be more complex than others.

    One thing we haven't talked about is sterilization. The silicone would be fine in an autoclave, but I'm not at all sure the electronics would survive the temperature.
    EO gas would be ideal, but I don't have any way of getting that done.
    what are your thoughts?

  • ightdenightden March 2016
    do you intend on producing more of these if his tests go well?
  • AlexSmithAlexSmith March 2016
    maybe, it was just an random idea to start with, and I wanted to see what people thought of it. 

    I wasn't planning on making many of these, but it got a way bigger reaction than I expected, so yeah, if the testing goes well I'll consider making more. 

    But it they will probably take a while, I'm spending most of my time on my other more serious projects, e.g. I've got a bunch of new NFC implants, and some other totally novel implants, ranging from purely aesthetic mods to serious medical sensor implants.
  • ightdenightden March 2016
    "some other totally novel implants, ranging from purely aesthetic mods to serious medical sensor implants."

    you cant just say things like that and not expect to tell us more!!!
  • ZerbulaZerbula March 2016
    Agreed. D:>
  • AlexSmithAlexSmith March 2016
    haha sorry, I think it's best to wait until they are available to everyone rather than make you jealous of the couple of people on the forums who already have the the implants.
  • MeanderpaulMeanderpaul March 2016
    Oh that makes it worse
  • chironexchironex March 2016
    Just soak it in chlorhex or iso for an hour. Or make 2 and autoclave 1 and see if it holds up. Experiment is better than guessing. 
  • AlexSmithAlexSmith March 2016
    @chironex true, was planning to make a few anyway, will autoclave one to test it. 
  • aviinaviin March 2016
    I was figuring on a chlorhexidine soak, so I'm glad to see that I'm not totally off-base in that regard.

    Sorry about the slow responses.  Working against a ridiculous deadline on an overly ambitious software project has been eating up most of my time for months now.

    I'll send a PM with my address in a moment.
  • aviinaviin March 2016
    The implant arrived today!  I'm very excited to get this implanted as soon as I can.  The aforementioned software project is nearing completion and in about a week (I hope) I will implant it.  The implantation will be recorded in 4k and made available online.

    I do have a question for you, @AlexSmith.  I've not yet opened up the pouch that you shipped it in, but it looks like the implant was placed into the pouch wet.  There is some discoloration on that paper and the typical wrinkled look that paper gets when it gets wet in an outline around the implant.  I'd post a pic but I left the implant in my office at work (I'm home now).  Was the implant wet (perhaps with the saline you soaked it in) or is there some more concerning cause (i.e. something leeching out of the silicone)?  I'll post a picture tomorrow.

    Assuming all is well, I'm going to be purchasing a decent set of locking forceps to enable an assistant to more easily grip the skin in order to tent it up.  Does anyone have a suggestion as to what variety might be best?  I'm thinking about getting curved Kelly forceps, but if another variety might be better, I'd love to hear about it.  Maybe @Cassox could suggest something?
  • AlexSmithAlexSmith March 2016
    Hmmm it wasn't wet as such, but I had been keeping it in a sealed container since removing it from the saline, so it would likely not have been fully dry.
  • JohnnyKJohnnyK March 2016
    @aviin thank you in advance for uploading the implantation video. This is an implant I'm kinda wanting to get. Not gonna find a piercer to do this for me...
  • aviinaviin April 2016
    Here's a pic showing the back of the packet (click the thumb to get a larger image):


    There is also a single small droplet of clear liquid inside the pouch.  I'm betting it's the saline.
  • AlexSmithAlexSmith April 2016
    yeah, looks like it was still a bit damp when I put it in
  • AlexSmithAlexSmith April 2016
    @aviin any update on the implant?

    I made another one of these...

  • aviinaviin April 2016
    Sorry for the long delay.  Life has been in the way of things.  That having been said...

    I implanted it an hour ago!  I didn't end up getting 4k video, but I've got stellar (and I mean STELLAR) 1080p video.  I'm going to work on editing that footage this evening and hope to have it available online by sometime tomorrow.  I'll have a full after-action report to go with it, too.

    @AlexSmith, do you have any issue with me featuring your company logo somewhere in there?  I know you aren't really selling these (yet?), but I'd definitely like to get your store some attention if I can.  You're really doing a great service for this community.  The video will be, um, interesting(?) enough that I suspect it'll get some hits on Youtube.

    Might as well talk VERY briefly about how I implanted right now.  I'm pretty damned excited about the whole thing.

    I ended up doing a through-and-through with a piercing needle (a monstrous 75mm long 6g needle) as I had originally envisioned.  I actually had decided against doing that, but when I opened the pouch the implant was in and actually got it out to soak it in iso, I saw how very unstiff the wire is.  Ever trying to guide that thing into a narrow opening would have been impossible.  It would have folded up on itself.

    I had an assistant use a set of locking forceps to grip the skin of my forearm and pull it up, tenting it to make the whole process possible.  Then I did the through-and-through with the needle, used a stainless steel surgical probe to try to widen the passage a bit by working it around, then used a scalpel to open up the initial entry area more to accommodate the antenna.  Next, I carefully guided the narrow end of the implant into another identical piecing needle.  That gave the whole thing the rigidity it needed to guide it in.  I worked the whole implant into place (which was difficult as all hell even with the needle encasing it) and then pulled the needle all the way through leaving the implant behind.  Some gauze and tape and it was done.  I will be replacing the gauze and tape and adding some triple antibiotic after I post this message.

    Oh, and I did NOT use the lidocaine.  Something about using it just doesn't sit well with me personally.  Please anyone reading this, don't think I would ever have a poor opinion of someone who does use it for implants (you should use it!).  I've just come to consider the pain as a part of the process if that makes sense.  It is part of the price for me, you know?  I'm no masochist; I despise pain, honestly, even if I can tolerate it well.  It just feels like it should be there.  I'm probably not making sense with that.  And I'm sure there are some truly archaic mental things going on that contribute to my need for these things to hurt.  So, anyway, yeah, use lidocaine everyone.  Please.  Not using it is reckless and dangerous and dumb.

    That was more than enough talk.  I've got editing to do; the video will show it all quite nicely.  I should say that I've not yet tried to activate the light in vivo.  There is already some swelling and I know there's alot of blood loose in there that will need to get cleaned up by natural processes before the light would be visible anyway.  I did confirm that I implanted it right side up, though, and near enough to the surface that it is going to be visible.

    P.S. - 6g needles used in this way, while just right right diameter, are NOT at all pleasant.  They're just too big.  And when used as I did, they actually "cored" out some pretty big chunks of tissue.  I'm not at all pleased about that.  I recall @glims once urging people not to remove any of their "meats" and I agree with that wholeheartedly.  And the needle(s) ended up scraping away enough tissue at the entry point that I'll have a nasty scar there.  All in the name of science, though, so the price seems very small.
  • AlexSmithAlexSmith April 2016
    Wow, that implant procedure is hardcore! I'm not sure I could have done that.

    yes, feel free to use my logo/link/mention whatever you want for youtube.

    You raise a good point about how flexible the wire+silicone is. that seems like a good think for long term implantation, but I hadn't considered how hard it would make implanting it.

    I've been practicing doing more silicone coating recently, and I'm getting the hang of it, to the point where I think I could make these semi-professionally if people want them. That said, how do you think I could make implanting them easier?

    Please keep us updated on how the healing goes, given how large the procedure was, I guess it will take a while for it to fully heal though.

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